Sandra Maitri was a member of the first group of students to whom the Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo presented the enneagram system in the United States. She is the author of The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram and teaches this subject as part of her larger work on spiritual transformation in the United States and Europe. Our passions and virtues animate our days, and yet very little has been written about them and the large impact they have on the way we live and act. Maitri is a believer in the interplay between psychology and spirituality and on these pages she demonstrates that connection with an impressive array of insights into the primal emotions.
The book is divided into three sections: The Outer Directed Corner, The Image Corner and The Fear Corner. In each section she discusses three sets of opposite passions and virtues. The passions are presented as ego-driven states, where the virtues are presented as arising from the soul. Inner development takes place when we replace the one with the other.
These opposing passions and virtues include laziness and action, lust and innocence, anger and serenity, deceit and veracity, pride and humility, envy and equanimity, fear and courage, gluttony and sobriety, and avarice and non-attachment. Along the way, devotees of the enneagram can gather tips on the challenges faced by different personality types.
Two of the most fascinating sections deal with humility and equanimity. Maitri defines humility as "seeing ourselves and our abilities clearly." The passion of pride, on the other hand, sees things as we would like them to be. The inner work of humility takes patience and only comes with plenty of practice, because it's far too easy to see ourselves an unrealistic light. For example, the envious person always wants more especially things he doesn't have. The person who has equanimity, on the other hand, covets nothing. It is these distinctions and contrasts that make this book so eminently practical, with its keen observations about human nature and the inner work we must do to become all we were meant to be.